Wednesday, September 7, 2011

why do you do this?

Why do you do this? Why do you raise your own vegetables, meat, mushrooms, and eggs? Why do you want to live in the country? Why are you turning suburbia and the city into food-producing land? Why are you drawn to draft horses and tractors?

Tell me.

97 Comments:

Blogger Blogger Grrl said...

I gain great satisfaction from growing and consuming my own vegetables and fruit. I feel independent. I believe it is good for the environment (i.e. no shipping, etc.). Organic foods are healthy.

Also, why not?

September 7, 2011 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger tjs said...

There are many reasons, healthier food, i enjoy working in my garden, also there are financial gains. I agree with Blogger Grrl, WHY NOT. i only wish I could do even more homemade/raised things around the house.

September 7, 2011 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

My family grows their own meat (beef, hogs, lambs, chickens) that we butcher. We can n freeze veggies and fruit. We buy milk raw locally. It s the right way to do things so we do .

September 7, 2011 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It forfills my enormous craving of independence and my need for fresh veggies.

September 7, 2011 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger quiltaholic said...

It's the way I grew up. We had pigs, cows, chickens, and a garden that was big enough to feed our family of 10, plus share with the neighbors. When I moved out, I didn't have animals or a garden, and that's the first time I realized that the stuff you grow yourself simply tastes better. I know I could say I was doing it for the environment or some other deeper purpose. But for me, it's just the way it's always been done, and feels right to me.

September 7, 2011 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Fresh Eggs Farm said...

Since I got married 15 years ago, I have gained 160 pounds. GAINED 160, over the 125 pound frame that I was. Weight had always been my issue, but then I saw my children gaining weight too and I knew that something had to change. The fastfood lifestyle had to go...we needed a front porch to relax on, a safe yard to play in, and enough space to grow food on. We are getting there. Step by step. We bought the house, made the garden plan, play outside, relax with coffee on the porch...and I have lost 14 pounds in the past two months!

September 7, 2011 at 3:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

FEF, congrats!

And I am asking because I am trying to anwser this myself, and wanted your thoughts?

September 7, 2011 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger 17th stitch said...

I take a lot of pride in being able to grow some food for my family. It satisfies something in me, and also makes my organic-obsessed hubby happy. Plus, at least the tomatoes, eggplant, and herbs came in cheaper than at the local farm stand.

September 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM  
OpenID jessieimproved said...

So many reasons!! Like several of the comments, I relish the feeling of independence. I love the idea that even if we were stuck in the house for weeks, I could still feed us. I love having control over what goes into my food, and knowing that it is more nutritious, and delicious than store-bought! I hand-make because I believe that when you put your heart and soul into an item, you'll take better care of it, use it longer, and put less waste into the environment.

September 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Dahlia ChanTang said...

Why not, indeed!
I do it just for the fun and self-satisfaction of it. I don't really produce enough to be self-sufficient, but I usually have enough tomatoes to enjoy fresh and to put up for the year. Everything else is bonus.
I also do it for soil health. In fact, soil health might actually be my main motivation: digging in all that compost, seeing the worms and other soil critters return to an area that was hard-pan clay or poor sand is extremely gratifying.
I live in the city, so I like knowing that I am contributing to maintaining diversity in my corner of the world.

September 7, 2011 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I like the feeling of independence. We live back in the bush country where we are often snowed in or the vehicle breaks down. Having food right outside the door sure cuts back on the anxiety. It's very difficult to find organic foods in the grocery store around here too. And we won't even get into prices.
My Fella is the local Mr.FixIt and he usually gets paid in barter which works out great as well.

September 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Why? There are way too many reasons for me. But a few of the main ones are, I want to know where my food came from and if it had a good and happy life and that it will be appreciated and thanked for that life when it's over. And to have the satisfaction of a pantry lined with beautiful jars full of the fruits of my labor and love. I know it makes me happy to see it all. And to be able to throw something together in a pinch. And to see the smiles on the people I feed. I would not have it any other way at all.

And right now, I can hear my ram lamb out back. The father of future lamb stews and roasts. And the bucks that are with him right now that will be the future fathers of the new bunch of kids jumping around on logs and rocks in the "back 40" next spring.

And to hear the roosters crowing on the fence row and see my happy hens running around after their dinner. And then I look out and see my cow Mazie and her son Chuck, who will be future dinners for us next year. Chuck, not Mazie. She will stay and have more for us next spring too.

It makes me happy and whole. That's why.

September 7, 2011 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

There are so many reasons I do this.
1) I love independence and I hate commercialism, so I would prefer to do it myself
2) The food I grow is so much healthier and safer
3) Reiterating what was said above: why not? I can, so I do.
4) I worry about the future, and I want to be as self-sufficient as possible.
5) I like lessening my impact on the planet by not shipping food.
6) I think a lot of people have lost a connection to the land, and that is sad. I get a great deal of satisfaction growing food, working outdoors, and seeing the fruit of my labour.

September 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Self-sufficiency and a strong connection to the Earth are paramount to me. I don't think humans were intended to move from one climate-controlled box to another all their lives and eat food made in factories. I think living on a homestead is acknowledging that just because mankind has created the ability to live completely divorced from nature does not mean that it is right for us. I breathe an enormous sigh of relief when I turn down my gravel drive after a visit to town and I don't even live in a large populated area. I just feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic with our modern culture of consumerism and disposable everything. I think the main reason I live on a farm and do what I do is because I want to be a part of something that is real and that matters.

September 7, 2011 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger L-Marie said...

I do it for so many reasons, but I think the most important reason for me is simple. If I don't do it, something inside me feels broken and aches so bad I can't NOT do it.

September 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I do it for my daughter mostly. So she'll have the knowledge to make intelligent choices when she gets older. There are a lot of life skills you learn on the farm that you can take with you just about anywhere you go, I want her to do what she decides to do because she likes it, not because she has to.

I grew up homesteading. We produced about 90% of what we ate when I was a kid. We are nowhere near that level now, but that day may come.

I'm reading a pretty good book that may help you answer this question (if you haven't read it already of course) - Growing a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister. Trying hard to find a library with Tomatoland on the shelves for my next read if anyone knows an inter-library loan option.

September 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Jamie @ Woodside Gardens said...

For me, it just feels like the right thing to do. I believe that we were put here to nurture the earth, not conquer it. And I love watching my children in the vegetable garden... its like a candy store to them!

September 7, 2011 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

Cause it tastes soooo good!

September 7, 2011 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I do this for several reasons.

1) Personal satisfaction. Coming home from a long day at the office and seeing my chickens when I pull in the driveway gives me a sense of peace I didn't know existed. Waking in the morning to let them out of the coop starts my day in such a positive light that I wonder why I haven't been doing this forever. Same goes for growing my own food.

2) I love that I don't have to run to the store (aka corporations) for everything. I love that I'm not totally dependent on the system. (I'm still pretty dependent, but it's baby steps. And even the smallest victories (not having to buy tomatoes, or rosemary) are still victories.)

3) Healthy food. I like knowing where my food comes from. I'm looking forward to someday teaching my kids where their food comes from. I like the accountability and I love the education working the land gives you.

I do it because it makes sense to in my mind. I often wonder why more people don't.

September 7, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger goatldi said...

It's in my genes. No that isn't a typo.

For years while growing up we would go to the county fair. I always went first to the livestock building where I had to visit the Nubian goats. After that was the poultry building and the fruit and veggie exhibitions.

Many years later when we moved our then 11 and 8 year children out of town and onto two acres west of Fresno (CA not Ohio) we began our life as farmers. I got my first Nubian 9 months after we moved and the rest was history.

Back to the genes. My mother's people were first generation German Americans in rural Illinois. They had 11 mouths to feed beside Gramma and Grandpa farmed for a living and to live.

The first time I rested my head to the flank of my first doe to freshen and milked her out. I felt as if my soul had come home after an incredible long journey.

This farm girl isn't ever going back to town!

September 7, 2011 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Sarahbyrdd said...

We don't have our patch of dirt yet, but my fiance and I see having a small homestead as part of our retirement plan. The ability to do some subsistance farming is going to be the best hedge against an uncertain economic future.

September 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Mindy said...

I used to live in the city, work a high-stress corporate job and I felt pretty unfulfilled with all of it. I gave it all up recently - the apartment in the city, the high-paying, low-satisfaction work - to rent and work a small farm. People always ask why I did it.

To some extent, I decided to make the change because it became really important to me to have some control over the food my husband and I eat. There's an entire experience, an entire lifteime really, that you miss when you just pick up a package of chicken, steak or pork at the grocery store. I think it's important to really see and feel and smell everything that goes into making something as simple as a roast chicken with potatoes. It's a lot of hard work and it all tastes so, so much better when it's my own.

I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

September 7, 2011 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

Because the world needs more people to touch the earth.

Because independence is a myth, we are all dependent on the earth.

Because the person who can live sustainably on the earth can sustain their lives though any kind of hardship.

Because I want to save the planet. And if I can't do that, I want to at least save my 1/4 acre of the planet.

September 7, 2011 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger KHB said...

I have a small patch of garden and my chickens to help keep me sane and healthy. It is one more way for me to teach my children how to take care of their bodies by eating healthy. I teach 7th grade and I witness on a daily basis the terrible food choices many of my students make. I take every chance I can to educate students on the importance of eating healthy and exercising. Food is fuel for our bodies. If you put junk into the body, your body performs poorly.

September 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Caitlin-Cats Critters said...

Because I love my birds (chickens) and hate how battery hens are treated. I garden because...while I honestly don't know, I love the food and spring just feels wrong without planting something and it gives me something to plan for during the winter.

I dream of one day having goats (Nigerian dwarfs) so I could have my own milk and alpacas to have my own fiber and over all just to enjoy them.

September 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I can successfully grow something in the climate I live in (although squash and zucchini lose their novelty really quickly). I love watching my chickens peck around the yard. But mostly I just want to make sure that I don't forget how to grow my own food. I don't want to become complacent.

September 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

There are days when I envy those people who just come home from work after stopping to get fast food, and laze around and watch tv. There are days when I really wish I could do that, but I can't. It isn't in me. I do it because I just HAVE to.

September 7, 2011 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Swiss Army Wife said...

Because I get more satisfaction out of plucking veggies from my garden then out of a full day of office work.

September 7, 2011 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Kristinlk said...

Because chickens are funny!

September 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger John Taylor said...

I grow my own vegetables because:

1. I want to know the food I eat and feed to my family is not treated with harsh chemicals.
2. Is not GMO crops
3. Is local and not shipped thousands of miles to get to me.
4. Is seasonal as much as possible.
5. I know my food is the most nutritional as possible.
6. My food is grown organically.

Grace and Peace,

John

September 7, 2011 at 5:57 PM  
Blogger Zelda said...

It's in my DNA. My forefathers (and mothers) arrived on the eastern shores of the United States in 1635 and helped found the great state of Massachusetts and eventually West Virginia. They carved out a life from scratch, and I'm here as a testament to their success. So I honestly believe this way of life is in my bloodlines.

September 7, 2011 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Joshua Tolley said...

People tend to think those of us that prepare for "the end of the world as we know it" are nuts, but I fail to see what's wrong with the idea that the masses of increasingly complex and fragile infrastructure we depend on might one day go away for a while. So I want to know I can feed myself, and my family, if that ever happens. Or even if it doesn't. Plus, there's nothing that makes me happier than being able to share, say, a pound of homemade raw butter, or a few dozen eggs, with friends and family, just because.

September 7, 2011 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Just a small city veggie garden here, with the laying hens next door supplying extraordinarily good fresh eggs. Because- homegrown organic food tastes best, the pride I feel when others enjoy the garden's bounty and praise my efforts. Most of all-because it just makes me feel happy and capable.

September 7, 2011 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

We wanted the security of knowing we didn't have to entirely depend on some nameless, faceless entity for our very sustenance. We also wanted to be absolutely sure the food we were eating was clean. We wanted fresher better tasting food that was humanely raised, and couldn't even find it where we lived, at any price. Those are the reasons we started. As for the reasons we'll never go back, they're all those and more. I can't get over all the new things we've learned, our sense of purpose, the joy of a day of hard work, and the many, MANY amazing people we never would have met if we hadn't gone down this road. I wasn't always unhappy in my former life, but I was never whole.

September 7, 2011 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger kristen said...

My friends think I have unresolved, past-life Amish issues. (I'm a plain-dressing, lesbian, Quaker woman. Dare you to find many others.) I did have a little homestead, but just had to move us back to town because of my son's health issues. We're now living in a 100 yr old house in town. This fall will involve preparing the former flower beds in front for veggies next year, building my remaining chickens (I brought eight... shush! don't tell) a town-worthy coop, replacing some diseased/tired fruit trees, and re-starting my meat rabbit flock. I'll make occasional trips to visit my dear dairy goat girls, who I had to rehome. I installed my two pulley line clotheslines off the back porch within a week of moving in. It's in my blood. It must be back a while, but it's there. I feel best in long skirts and boots, working outside with the animals. It feeds me, both body and soul.

September 7, 2011 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I love reading these, all the different angles...

wonderful!

September 7, 2011 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Tru Vani said...

Because I want to be part of a slower, simpler, more humane, more communal world. Because I know we can all do better for ourselves and the planet if we pay more attention to our food and less attention to "reality" TV.

September 7, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Carissa Kennedy said...

Because I'm a dirty footed hippy that watched Ferngully one too many times when I was a kid.

When I found out how my food was grown and what was going on in the world (soil, pollution, peak oil, animal abuse...) I got horribly claustrophobic at the idea I was taking part in it and started researching alternatives. The more I knew, the more I appreciated traditional "country" skills. And then I started feeling fulfilled and realized this is actually what I was built/meant to do.

September 7, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger bookkm said...

Growing vegetables is real life, not life on TV, or life on the computer or life on a cell phone or life in a car. It is life on our home, the planet and keeps us in touch with the rhythms of the year.
And it is what my parents did and what their parents did. I have always had a garden from our first apartment through our first house and even now. I am not a great gardener but every spring I will plant and harvest through the fall.

September 7, 2011 at 7:19 PM  
Blogger D V said...

Because without all of it I would be insane. My horses(my Draft most of all) ask for simplicity and passive leadership. They empathize with me, yet will not allow me to be chaotic in their handling and care. I therefore must leave it all at the gate.
My chickens provide me the ability to waste time and they also make an egg that cannot be beat. They eat the mice, snakes and tics - so the natural pest control is a huge bonus.
And my garden - so many trials and tribulations - yet such a great way to decompress.
I'm doing my part for the environment on my little square of land. There is a huge sense of accomplishment to be able to pull this off on the edge of a huge city.

September 7, 2011 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Christee said...

I don't want my kids to grow up and think that everything just materializes in the grocery cart. I don't want their sole existance to be on a couch in front of the Wii. I love to satisfaction of walking out the my garden and picking all the items I need to make salsa or spaghetti sauce.
I want life to move just a bit slower for me. I lost my Mom this past May and slowing down is absolutely essential in my life right now and taking stock of the things that REALLY matter to me.

September 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM  
OpenID nourishingwords.net said...

The more I provide for my own needs, the more empowered I feel and the more fun I have. I get a kick out of staying out of the grocery store. Growing a few veggies in my front yard urban garden feels like an important political statement about our food system and a way of participating in changing it.
Eleanor

September 7, 2011 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

It's a yearning. It feels like I am trying to make my way home. I am a patient woman, but I want to be on my farm doing so much more. But until then, I am making do with what I can accomplish in suburbia. Whahhhh!

September 7, 2011 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

I agree with everyone else who has already posted! I have a self-sufficient/independent streak in me, and not growing my own food is not an option in my mind. I also like the quality of the food I grow/raise myself, and the stories behind each item. The heirloom beans that I received in a trade for pumpkin seeds, the chickens in the freezer that my friends helped me process, the raw goat milk from my own goats... I love the stories! It's also because I am firmly agains't CAFO's, and the farming techniques used on so many huge "farms" these days. Then there are GMO's, pesticides, genetically altered animals...
Oh, and like Goatldi, it's in my genes. :) I'm only the fourth generation to be here in the USA, in our family. Before that, we lived in Germany, and homesteading brings back the past to me, and it always reminds me how all of my ancestors were farmers.
Farming is ingrained within me, and I couldn't turn from it, even if I wanted to...

September 7, 2011 at 7:49 PM  
OpenID outdoors1968 said...

Mostly for the peace of mind that comes with self-reliance. Although I live in an urban area, gardening, reducing my energy use, reducing my "consumerism" helps to save money toward that dream homestead in the woods.

Not being "dependent" on government, supermarkets, utility companies and so on, sure brings a nice low level of anxiety. Even when hurricanes and other such things blow through my area. Contentment...... despite the economy, and so on.

Independence and security for myself and my daughter top the list, imho.

September 7, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Tahdas said...

Mostly because I feel like I'm actually accomplishing something tangible and REAL, as well as because of the excitement of knowing where your meat and eggs comes from!

September 7, 2011 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

I am just beginning my self-sufficient lifestyle but....I do it/learn about it because its what makes me feel happy and productive. It makes sense environmentally, its healthy, its fun. It makes me so much more appreciative of what I eat and what I have. Mother Nature is happier with me!

September 7, 2011 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger The Cruise and Travel Expert said...

There are many reason why. I have a vegetable garden and fruit trees in my city lot, but the most important is having control over the food my family eats.
Next on the schedule chickens, but first I have to convince my wife

September 7, 2011 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Because, as Ralph Borsodi showed eighty years ago, the total cost of raising veggies at home is significantly less than the price of buying supermarket veggies. And everything you can produce with your own labor in the household economy, rather than buying with wages, is something you'll have even if your boss decides to cut you loose.

September 7, 2011 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Kara O said...

Because I can and I should be!

September 7, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

wait--there's another way of life? ;)

September 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Harpy 101 said...

1. Long-term economic practicality (this includes eco-impact and sustainability issues as well as My Wallet)

2. Profound emotional satisfaction from the pursuit of greater meaning, which I only get from having living things depending on me and teaching me about Life through Nature.

3. Taste and nutrition

4. FUN

September 7, 2011 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Because after spending 20 years on the merry-go-round of 60 hours work weeks, stress induced illness, losing nearly everything twice in separate recessions and serously questioning this consumer driven madness we call modern society... I came to my senses.

It has taken a few years to wind down from that lifestyle and we have finally moved t the country. I'm still very close to work, but my hours have been trimmed down to 30ish hours a week. My husband now works from home, and we finally have the time to start doing the things we need to live a saner, healthier life. All of my "hobbies" are related and now I finally have time to enjoy them. Especially the music! I love that it's important to you as well. I play the Celtic Harp, whistle and mountain dulcimer and I just brought a hammered dulcimer home with me today. Giving up the fast lane for self sufficiency allows us to really enjoy all of the things life has to offer. Yes, the work is hard, but I honestly have more time now than I ever did before. I catch up on reading, spinning and knitting in the winter and get plenty of exercise during the warm months without setting foot in a gym.

Wouldn't trade it for the world!

September 7, 2011 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Tarheelbilly said...

Because it is my moral and ethical responsibility to provide for myself and my family. It is also important for me, as a meat eater, to ensure that the meat that I eat is raised ethically. Thus, I raise it. :-) I have a cow because it's illegal for me to purchase raw milk in my state, and I have issues with that. I come from a long line of people who knew how to do REAL THINGS, like farm, weld, and build, and I wanted to do those things, too. Until I read "Shop Class as Soulcraft" I thought I was crazy for eschewing my 2 masters degrees to grow food and raise bees and animals. Now I understand that some of us just feel compelled to do real work, to connect ourselves with both our ancestors and to quell that disaffection that comes with living ones life cerebrally. So, I do what I do because I am utterly unhappy otherwise. When finagling a bit of milk from the cow is something to write about, or cursing the destructive nature of hornworms becomes the most consuming thing in my day, it MAKES ME HAPPY. I also feel responsible to raise my kids with a greater understanding of natural processes than most other kids. Gosh, I could go on forever. I'll just say that I do this because my heart tells me to. :-)

September 7, 2011 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger The Finicky Farmer said...

I do this because I want to participate actively in my own life.

September 7, 2011 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

Gardening is something I did growing up and I enjoy it. Now that I have a husband of my own to take care of, I've remembered how delicious homegrown things taste compared to a lot of store bought items so I'm back gardening (now in my 4th year). And it's so fun and gives me the exercise I need. Seeds are hold so much potential! I've added chickens this summer and hope to add an orchard and guineas within a couple of years. Not sure I'll ever get into meat or milk products though. But I'm planning on alpacas too so I have lots of fiber to spin. :-)

September 7, 2011 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I have mixed reasons for doing it. Part of it is getting in touch with my crunchy granola inner hippie who disappeared somewhere in high school or shortly thereafter.

Part of it is that I'd like my husband to be able to retire with me, which hopefully means early retirement for him- I'm hoping that getting food out of the yard will make the retirement money stretch. And if things don't work out so well, we won't have to choose between taking our meds and eating.

Then there's the part of me that expect life to be very different in not too many years- I'm learning the hard way that growing your own food successfully is really, really hard, and I have such a new respect for the people that peopled this country. I've also figured out that without rabbits we'll probably starve, so they're in the plans.

And then finally I'm learning that food out of the yard tastes so much better because you can pick at the height of maturity when all the flavor's been grown into it, and you can't beat minutes-fresh buying something at the store.

Homegrown asparagus, and locally ranched meats and eggs; we're eating so much better!

September 7, 2011 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Because after one season of growing broccoli (and other things) in our community garden plot, my son asked me everytime we had broccoli "Did that come from our garden?" It had an impact that I couldn't have imagined. We have grown food, friendship and a sense of stewardship on our 10x20 spot - good values for anyone to take in. And now, because of the tornado that hit town 3 weeks ago and the trees it took down, I went from a full shade yard to a full sun yard and I can't wait to spend the winter planning my urban homestead! What will my son say about chickens???

September 7, 2011 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Cottage Times said...

I feel a calling to be closer to nature. As well, I can do a better job than tyson and the green giant at producing my families dinners every night. I have a long way to go but will not stop until I achieve independence from those very institutions.

My sons loved watching the garden grow this year and we all learned so much and got to meet our neighbors that would come by and see the progress. I prefer the trials of natural pest control and fertilizer to the toxins used by mass food producers.

Last but not least, I love working in the garden. It's therapeutic for me to dig in the dirt and lose myself in the task at hand. No computers, cell phones, crazy reality shows...just a girl, dirt and a dream!

September 8, 2011 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Honestly, we're just starting on this journey, but somehow it just makes way more sense than the "normal" way to do things. If we're lucky, in a couple of years we'll be living in a yurt on a bunch of acres with our own garden and livestock. Thank you for the inspiration!

September 8, 2011 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger redbird said...

There’s something immeasurably true and good about doing it this way. I love planting that seed myself and then reaping from it in a few months; every time I bite into that veggie I remember planting, watering, and protecting it from the elements, and it’s something very genuine and priceless. Same as when I raised my own meat. I love being out amongst the plants and animals—getting to know them, it make this short life so much richer for it. I look forward to scaling things up in the near future.

Also, as others have mentioned, it’s the right thing to do—I don’t agree mostly with the path civilization seems to be taking. Plus I’m pretty independent and like seeing that things get done right. Can’t imagine doing anything else. And yeah, it tastes so much better.

September 8, 2011 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger The Sprouting Acorn said...

there's lots of reasons, but one being that i want my kids to know how to survive. it's a lost art… there are things i should know (or could have known if i'd chosen to), from the generations before me, that i'm having to learn from other sources and that, in my mind, is a disgrace. it's time to reclaim our roots and teach our children before it's completely lost; to teach not only how to grow their own food, but to have the mentality that less is more -- that self-sustaining knowledge is not only necessary, but empowering.

September 8, 2011 at 2:07 AM  
Blogger Anja said...

Its difficult to explain...I grew up in the country surrounded by fields, untouched nature, fresh fruits and vegetables and freshly reared meat (rabbits, lambs, pigs, duck, geeze, pigeons). Its always been a way of life for me even when my family stopped rearing animals when I was 15, I always wanted to go back to it.
When I was 22 I went back in babysteps to raise my own vegetables and started to by local meat, as I wanted to live healthier.

I loved they way I grewp up, the values I learned and its something I want to pass on to my children later on.

September 8, 2011 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger rabbit said...

Because it makes me HAPPY.

September 8, 2011 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

We are blessed by God to be able to do it. We enjoy doing it. We know where I food comes from and what goes into it. Since we sell some of what we raise and grow, we have made good friends doing it.

September 8, 2011 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Donna Lovesthe Farm said...

It feels right. It feels like an instict that makes me want to live in the country, like my body knows that the city is unnatural. I crave animals to care for (why I have 5 kids!) I feel like I was a farmer in a past life and I need to become one in this life too. Its much more than a concious decision to live healthier, greener and more sustainably. Those are just reasons that I can voice to people to explain why I do this. But for me, it is something deep in my soul that I can't put into words. I know you will be able to put it into words though, you are my go-to girl for that!

September 8, 2011 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I do it because I can. :-) Not everyone knows how to plant a garden, how to raise animals, etc. My mom taught us all of this stuff. We grew up pulling weeds and hating it. She taught us how to cook, can, sew, and all those important life skills. She got us involved in 4-H so my siblings and I grew up raising and showing lambs and goats. I was hooked and never looked back.

September 8, 2011 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Drummond Farms Alpacas and Woolens said...

Oh, for all the reasons listed and more. Six years ago, my husband, lost his job from downsizing after giving 20 years to that business. This was a huge wake up call to us. I had always been the one wanting to get out "into the country" and grow what we could. Finally we were able to do that and we started our gardening. I have yet to can, but I freeze a great deal. My husband did find another job, but there is no retirement any longer and so much else that we will not be able to count on for our future. When he came home yesterday, sitting on the counter and the kitchen table were bowls and crates of what I harvested out of our garden. This was a nice surprise for him when he came home. So much that we were not going to have to buy. There were so many things weighing on his and my heart as to upcoming financila commitments and all that food was a bit of peace from all that worry. So, I think that it is the "peace" we have from it that makes it so important for all of us. The peace from worries that seem to come from so many directions.

September 8, 2011 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger karental said...

Because I have to. There are lots of reasons to do it, like eating healthier, making a good life for animals, or helping the environment. But I need to do it, even if those weren't good reasons. Mister grew up on a dairy. His family had a huge garden with which they fed themselves. He hated it. It is hard work, and not very fulfilling in the modern sense of "success". But he is so supportive of my need.It is different from a dream.I dream of spending a month in France, or seeing the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but I don't obsess over it. I need to have a garden, and chicken, and bees, and someday a draft mule or two. I am sick when it doesn't happen.

September 8, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I raise meat chickens, turkeys, meat rabbits, keep egg chickens and grow a decent garden. Why is often asked.
Probably because I know that the animals have eaten organic food, vegetable scraps, grass and weeds from my organic garden. I do not want to eat meat and eggs from a CAFO. I do not want to eat veggies that are GMO and pesticided. I'm old enough to have seen our food supply go from pretty safe and much home grown to pretty unsafe and grown long distances from us. I now see the pendulum swinging back and it even has a title, Locavore. As long as I am able, I'll continue to produce as much of my food as I can.

September 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Desert Willow said...

I do all of those things for the same reasons I bought a house that most people wouldn’t set foot in and drive a truck that’s 35 years old that was destined for the junkyard. I do those things to be involved in the process. If I can’t fix it, grow it, make it or drive it I can’t have it. I grow a mean garden. I can rebuild an engine and re-roof a house, if something goes wrong with my computer I can fix that too. I weave and crochet but I am still flummoxed by knitting and I hate shopping!

September 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Ellen Rathbone said...

I think we should all take greater responsibility for ourselves, and that includes producing for our own needs. It is terribly arrogant to expect others to sweat and labor to produce our food, and THEN expect to pay next to nothing for it.

Nope, I want to know that my food comes from my labors. I want my food to be fresh, and I want it to be as free of chemicals as possible (a bit more difficult now that I have moved to farm country and am surrounded by monocultures that are sprayed periodically through the summer).

Now, if I can only get my courage up to do chickens (possibly turkeys?)...and then maybe, just maybe, a pig or two...

September 8, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Mrs. N said...

I grew up on 5 acres in WI, we didn't "farm" but we rented out our land and had a big garden and orchard. There are some great gardeners in my background on both sides, so the country is just home to me. I have two small children and I want them to know where there food comes from. I cringe at the idea that they could grow up knowing who Spongebob is, but not know that chickens don't need a rooster to lay an egg. I am a foodie with a great sense of style and a strong desire to make a meaningful contribution in this world, but I have a very low income. Every time I make a meal that I raised myself using fresh ingredients and herbs, walk my own little piece of land, and realize that caring for it and its inhabitants is good work, I feel surrounded by luxury.

September 8, 2011 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Michael Smith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 8, 2011 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Michael Smith said...

1. I want my daughter to know where real food comes from.
2. I want REAL food for my family, not food-like substances.
3. The GMO in the main stream food chain WILL turn out to be deadly.
4. Just look at the average American (and now British and European). They are all FAT and cannot lose it. I have a bit (okay a lot) of that GMO fat on my waist and even though I work like a dog, it comes off VERY slowly.
5. There is an indescribable satisfaction that you get by working in the dirt with your hands.


--Mike
schomestead.com

September 8, 2011 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Bonnie C. said...

I garden because I have to. Deep in my soul there is something that pushes me out to get my hands in the dirt and pretty flowers just aren't enough. Plus, you can never match the flavor of a homegrown heirloom tomato.
I raise chickens for the eggs and wonderful fertilizer and for the way they clean out my garden space over the winter. I personally am a vegetarian but my husband and sons are not. Last year we raised a turkey for Christmas dinner and this year we raised 8 broiler chickens and my boys helped process them. Why? Because I don't want to be like a friend of mine who when her 4 yr old asked where steak comes from didn't have the heart to say it came from a cow. So now all he knows is that it comes from a plastic tray from the grocery store. My boys know that chicken comes from an animal that had a personality and needed food, water and care just like they do. Hopefully that will ensure greater respect for the meat that they eat, so they are more than just blind consumers. Whatever you work hardest to acquire you will value most.
I live inside city limits now, but my husband and I are planning sometime in the next 5 years or so to get out of town and onto a few acres so that we can do more and be more independant.

September 8, 2011 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

Why: I am compelled to do it. Something inside me drives me. I can rationalize it, sure, with any of the reasons already listed here. But for me the "why" isn't rational, it's purely a feeling/urge that's part of me.

People see the small progress I've made in this direction, and hear about my future plans, and see the seeds of those plans in the works, and ask "why".

It's a lot of work and planning and it looks crazy to some people, myself included sometimes, and I'll even get pulled away from it from time to time. But I always re-discover what I've always known: I only feel sane when I'm doing it.

September 8, 2011 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger ChickenCrazy said...

For the satisfaction when you bite into carrot that you have grown from scratch. And for the precious little moments, like when you hold your first chick

September 8, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Kaehler said...

I like that it makes me slow down and feel the seasons, even though my "farm production" is minimal.

September 8, 2011 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

To do something real. To build community: I've met more neighbors since getting chickens and converting my front yard to victory garden. To teach others about the real value food. To build healthy soil. To respect my meat. To better understand the natural world.
My mother did not teach me to can. To her, it was poor-peoples' drudgery. To me, it's a luxury. Funny how those things change from generation to generation. Thanks, Jenna...I just love it when you ask questions like this. Lovely answers, people.

September 8, 2011 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

For me, it started 28 years ago with the birth of my son, I decided that I wanted to pick apples and make my own applesauce for him. We started our own garden so that we would know where our vegetables were coming from without fear of pesticides. It was also the beginning of canning and freezing our own produce. It became a family affair as our family grew and apple picking and applesauce making became part of our fall activities.

Now my children are all grown and have begun baking their own bread, growing their own vegetables, brewing their own beer, etc. all because they grew up learning how, and now they want those same things for themselves. It really makes us proud to see that what we taught them was important enough to them to carry on the traditions.

They may have grumbled a little bit while they were weeding the garden or raking leaves for the compost pile, but guess what, now they have their own.

We still grow a huge garden with lots of fruit trees and berries, but now the kids want to come over and pick so they can preserve some of our harvest for themselves. Someday in the future the next generation of our family will be right out in the garden with their parents learning the lessons we taught them. Can't wait!

September 8, 2011 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger Rosybee said...

Gardening, raising chickens and rabbits, Self-sufficiency are just a few reasons. I want to have a wood burning stove and chop my own wood.

September 8, 2011 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

Because it is fun to garden. We think it is wise to have a degree of independence from utility companies, grocery, and clothing stores. I like to hang up clothes, tat, knit, quilt, sew, make soap, haul wood, keep stock, and practice other affairs of plain living.

September 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger thefrugalchicken said...

It's one thing that I can do that will have a direct impact on my family's life. I hope that it continues a connection in our children that I feel when stepping out into the garden, hen house, or berry patch.
Growing some of our food taking care of our little spot of earth seems to be the least I can do.
And most days, I LOVE it!

September 8, 2011 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Misty said...

I have a theory. It revolves around basic life force. And involves human nature.

It would be easy to say that all humans desire the same things, because they don't. There are many groups of individuals on earth. But for the sake of comparison, let's break it down into two.

We Farm Folk believe that our ecosystem, the biological community of interacting organisms, keep us tied fiercely together. Life without the other is impossible. Farm Folk live and breathe reproduction of life, from plants to animals and even our own human families.

A second group (I like to use the population of Los Angeles or New York as stereotypical examples) haven't a clue. They "exist", and that is all. They are shopaholics and love to acquire the biggest and best of everything. And even though this stereotypical group refuse to understand how microorganisms live in our healthy soil, breaking down waste and turning it into life-giving humus, this stereotypical group actually has something in common with Farm Folk.

Are you ready for it?

Farm Folk have an inbuilt mechanism to collect and gather, too. OK, maybe we don't gather designer clothes or racy sports cars. But we do gather seed. And this winter's pantry items. And wool for our sweaters. And beeswax for candles. And a lifetime of memories with our families all working together for a common purpose. To reproduce this life we lead. This life that teaches hard work and a sense of accomplishment. A good ethic to live by, by any measure.

I believe that most Farm Folk will tell you that we live this life because we are moved to. Or we were born into it. But this life we lead is a conscience choice to feed our souls with the goodness found in the tiniest of microorganisms living in our soil to the largest of farm animals. We may not dress in jewels and silk or live in a mansion overlooking the ocean or Park Avenue. (Honestly, my preferred form of dress includes denim and flannel.) What I do have instead is a view of the unfettered sky. A group of beings that depend on me for their livelihood. And a life that counts on me doing my part.

I choose this life.

September 8, 2011 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I need to be in the dirt and outside. But also...I need to feel secure and know that I can feed my family and I'm so damned angry that high quality, organic food is too expensive to buy for us. Plus, I like not having to be in a grocery store and I love harvesting lots of extras for neighbors and friends. I'm much more connected since focusing on homesteading. You just feel like giving!

September 9, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Susannah of Cricklewood Farm said...

From the About page of my website - http://cricklewoodfarm.com:

I could go on and on about fossil fuel, politics and the environment, but quite frankly I do this for the same reason we all do what we do - because in my gut this feels right. I hate that I don't have the simple skills to survive even twenty-four hours without electricity. I hate that a large segment of the population - including me - lives so large just to meet their "basic" needs. Needs that are actually beyond the basics of food, shelter and companionship. And we are all stressed out about it.

You know what happens when people are stressed out about meeting their needs? They become small and miserly in their actions. They become separate from their environment. They disconnect from the "grid" that will truly sustain them - their own physical labor, an inventive and optimistic mindset, and collaboration with others.

This is why I homestead.

September 9, 2011 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

For a lot of the reasons already given, but also because I don't want to eat or have access to "just" the varieties of fruits and vegetables commercial growers want to plant.

But, mostly it's who I am. Growing food, raising livestock, butchering chickens and lambs, cooking from scratch, composting, preserving, quilting, sewing, doing for my self is so much a part of the person I have become.

September 9, 2011 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Z. said...

Jenna,

I do this, even in the gritty bowels of New York City in a 500 square foot apartment (sorry, that means raising animals is right out until I find someone willing to do rooftop chickens with me) because it is ingrained in the very fiber of my being. The thought of providing for my friends and family in the coldest months of winter makes me feel like a superhero in the ways no job ever could. Sometimes it's because HFCS and preservatives make me gain 10 pounds or more with regular consumption. At other times it's because I feel like nurturing plants, people and animals is one of the most spiritual endeavors I could ever partake in - because having my hands in the dirt and breathing air that machines have not yet destroyed make me feel like a quintessentially whole human being in the ways a manufactured society has yet to come close to.

I too am working as a designer (architectural) right now, and so much of what you say and do resonates with me in fantastic ways. I read your blog with such relish and hope that some day, no matter how many days or years down the line I can leave another comment that simply says, "Thank you for the inspiration, and my little goat does too."

September 9, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

its my moral obligation to not support industries that blatantly and publicly abuse animals.

growing veggies is easy, fun, and caters to my love of the outdoors. i personally enjoy the growing more than the eating.

as for country living, i don't have a choice...its how i'm meant to live. although, i do wish i could winter in the middle of a small town where i could walk my dogs by street light after work.

i do it all because it makes me happy and is VERY rewarding. i conceive food by pushing seeds in soil!

September 9, 2011 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Speaktrue said...

I love to cook with the food I have grown and know what I'm feeding myself and my family. I love the satisfaction of bees, birds and butterflies visiting our yard for nutrients and offering us beauty. I feel a sense of peace and fulfill each morning I walk around the yard. I have appreciated learning what the flower of veggies and fruits looks like.

September 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I love all of these....

all of them.

September 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Because I need to. It's innate and it's been with me since my age was a single digit. It's many decades later now but it's still as strong a need today. Maybe stronger.

September 10, 2011 at 1:04 AM  
OpenID mountainchicken said...

I get to be a self-righteous egg snob! ;)

September 10, 2011 at 1:20 AM  
OpenID ZH said...

It is like living in colour instead of black and white. Food tastes of food, exercise is a productive life affirming endeavour, and the landscape includes me.

September 11, 2011 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm at the age now where people around me argue I should be interested in "adult" things like a 401K and a status symbol car instead of wonderfully simple things like watching my strawberries try to stretch their way out of the planter in search of new soil. The argument always ends the same way: You could wake up tomorrow and the stock market, politics and the world in which it is important to own size zero pants and a Lexus could be gone. The ancient earth wouldn't even bat an eyelid. These are products of our current, human society and nothing more. So, I stick to the things in life that actually mean something: love (for my partner, my family and my community), farming (growing and sharing enough to feed and clothe myself) and health (working hard everyday to be the kind of doctor who cares for people body, mind and spirit). We homestead because the things we produce are real, honest and meaningful and they remind us that we belong to something much bigger, older and more sacred than ourselves.

September 11, 2011 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Charlene said...

because it's real and beautiful. because it is satisfying. because i break a sweat. because i want my children to see me doing it. because it tastes better. because it amazes, humbles and excites me. because it's right and make me feel like myself.

September 12, 2011 at 12:53 AM  

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